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Weekly Kickback: December 2nd

Alan Pulido possibly in San Jose and the NCAA Women’s College Cup at Avaya Stadium

Soccer: Concacaf Champions League-Toronto FC at Guadalajara Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The rumor mill is spinning, and the San Jose Earthquakes are in the middle of a big one. Will they get a chance to land a special player, and will the front office open up the checkbook to make it happen?

Quakes Lookin to Sign Reigning Liga MX Scoring Champion

At this stage in the offseason, all MLS diehards have are rumors, some with more merit than others. Last season the Quakes made one of the biggest signings of the offseason bringing in Matias Almeyda from Chivas de Guadalajara. Now it looks like the Quakes want to use the Argentinians connections on his former club to make another big signing this offseason.

Alan Pulido, a 28-year-old Mexican striker, led the 2019 Liga MX Apertura tournament with 12 goals in 18 matches. Half of those goals, though, came from the penalty spot, which is leading a lot of Mexican fans to doubt his technical ability. Asking around some of my friends that follow Liga MX, their opinion was clear “Ese guey es un tronco. Que se lo lleven”. Not exactly confidence-building words when Pulido’s asking price is rumored to be around $10 million. That amount would dwarf anything the Quakes have done in the past.

A good Liga MX player looks and plays differently than a good MLS player. Pulido has the ability and is still young enough that he can turn into an excellent MLS player that helps his team reach the playoffs. The Quakes will have their work cut out for them if they intend to sign Pulido as three other MLS teams are also reportedly interested in his services.

NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship this Weekend at Avaya

The Quakes are three months from the start of the 2020 season, but Avaya Stadium is still hosting high-level soccer. This weekend four teams will battle it out for the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.

In the first match on Friday at 4 PM, North Carolina (16-1-1) will take on Washington State (12-6-1) in a David versus Goliath setup. The Tar Heels have won 21 of the 39 National Championships that have happened so far and are ranked number two in the nation.

The Cougars, on the other hand, are unranked and have never been this far in the tournament. This match should be a lot closer than that fact makes it seem. Washington State had to beat third-ranked Virginia and fifth-ranked South Carolina to reach the semifinal. The weather is supposed to be cold and rainy, I wonder who that could favor.

As soon as that match is decided, the next playoff is set to kickoff at 6:30 in what should be a battered and damp pitch. In that match, Stanford takes on UCLA in a battle of Pac 12 juggernauts. The Cardinal are a perfectly calibrated machine that went 18-1-0 in the regular season. So far, in the playoff tournament, they have outscored their opponents 26-1 in four matches. Not even the Germans, who are known masters of engineering, could build something so precise.

Italy U16 v USA U16 - 2nd Female Tournament ‘Delle Nazioni’ Final
Fishel has scored four more goals in the tournament than all her opponents combined.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

UCLA finished the season ranked seventh in the country and have also cruised through the tournament so far. They have also only allowed their opponents score once so far in the tournament, their leading scorer Mia Fishel has five goals in that span. The road to the final is going to be much tougher against Stanford, who is essentially playing a home game in San Jose.

The National Championship is scheduled for Sunday at 5:30 Pacific Time.

Inter Miami and Nashville FC Assigned Conferences

Two new teams will join Major League Soccer next season with the addition of Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC. Now we know what conference each team will play in.

Earlier today MLS announced that Miami will play in the Eastern Conference and Nashville will join the West. This will maintain the conferences at an even 13 teams each. All the teams will still play their conference opponents twice for a total of 24 games, the other ten will be against opponents from the East.

By 2022 the conferences will be unbalanced as three teams are scheduled to join the league by that time. My solution, until another city joins the league, would satisfy some of the people that keep asking for pro/rel in MLS. Whatever club finishes with the lowest point total gets booted to the opposite league.